NAPIT Responds to Call for Rethink of Third Party Certification Scheme
In 2013, amendments to Part P of the Building Regulations created provisions for a new scheme to be introduced that would allow suitably qualified and registered individuals to check domestic electrical work undertaken by others and certify its compliance with the Building Regulations.
This Third Party Certification Scheme has sparked significant industry debate and some are still opposed to the idea. However, when given the opportunity by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to operate it, NAPIT took the decision to opt in in order to help design the scheme to ensure it was both robust and fit for purpose.
Nevertheless, as with all new initiatives, myths and misconceptions still surround the Third Party Certification Scheme.
One has been that it will undermine registered installers. NAPIT initially had similar concerns but, recognising that this work is already done by Building Control Officers and after working with The Institution of Engineering Technology (IET) and DCLG, we have been able to put safeguards in place to prevent this from occurring.
These safeguards include the use of a specifically designed Third Party Certifier’s Electrical Installation Report which must be submitted for auditing after every job. The report requires Certifiers to know about the installation in advance and to carry out inspections throughout the installation process, including at first and second fix and final testing and certification.
Another common criticism is that Third Party Certification would undermine safety. This couldn't be further from the truth. Third Party Certifiers must have a Level 3 NVQ in electrical installation and a current Level 3 qualification in inspection and testing. They must also have been assessed in inspection work, and will be regularly assessed to ensure their competence remains. NAPIT will inspect Certifiers through a combination of employer and individual inspection and there are strict controls in place to ensure that they cannot delegate to or supervise another operative. In this regard it is more robust than either using Building Control or indeed the qualified supervisor model used by some scheme operators to assess the competence of electrical enterprises – and it requires the Certifier to carry out far more hands-on inspection and testing that is often carried out by many supervisors on unqualified or under-qualified workers.
In response to the recent call for a re-think over Third Party Certification, David Cowburn, Managing Director of NAPIT Registration, said:
The introduction of Third Party Certification effectively recognises that electricians can do the work of Building Control. It is important to stress that it is not a new approach but an adjustment on who can carry out the check. Done properly, it in no way weakens Part P or undermines registered installers work. If anything it complements the work of competent, registered electricians, providing greater levels of supervision to those who chose to carry out electrical work themselves and gives us an opportunity to communicate with them about the disadvantages of the approach and the additional benefits that would accrue if they did choose to employ registered installers.
30 September 2014